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Cuadrilla renews Balcombe lease for 30 years

Cuadrilla Resources Ltd has renewed the lease on its exploration site at Balcombe until 2043. The lease was signed with Simon Greenwood, owner of the Balcombe Estate,  on September 26th, 3 days before the previous agreement expired.

View the Land Registry document giving lease details: RegisterPlanWSX359771

News of the extension was reported by FrackFreeBalcombe  and on Twitter @Louisedelpy. The length of the lease is surprising, given comments about the future of the Balcombe site made in the summer by Cuadrilla and a local politician.

On August 6th Frances Maude, the MP for Horsham, told BBC South East Today: “My understanding is that even if the company conclude that there are reserves here which are … capable of being commercially exploited through fracking Balcombe is unlikely to be the place where they would choose to do it from.”

A week later, Balcombe Parish Council reported it had received the following comment from Cuadrilla: “The Balcombe site is suitable for exploration because of the previous history of exploration drilling by Conoco in 1986 but it is unlikely to be taken forward as a production site”

Investigating Balcombe and Cuadrilla asked Cuadrilla why the lease needed to be for 30 years if the site was unlikely to be used for production. We’ll report the company’s response when we receive it.

On 6th November Cuadrilla responded:

Cuadrilla can confirm that they have taken out a new lease on the land at Balcombe in order to continue with their exploration plans. This is normal practice for onshore oil and gas leases.  The new lease includes a six month termination clause, which in effect make it a six month rolling lease. As previously stated, this is normal practise for oil and gas leases.

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